The University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library
Library with Yellow Flowers
Oxford Biblical Studies Online
Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Encyclopaedia Judaica
Encyclopedia of Buddhism
New Catholic Encyclopedia
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Using ebrary eBooks

Here you'll find FAQs on using ebrary eBooks. If your questions are not answered below, contact us at Ask a Librarian.

What is ebrary?

ebrary is an online library database of ebooks (electronic books). The library subscribes to the Academic Complete Collection, which contains over 70,000 ebooks covering all academic subjects.

How do I access ebrary ebooks?

ebrary books can be searched in the ebrary database or are available through the library catalog

In the catalog, you’ll see a link that says "An ebrary electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click to view." Click it to access the ebrary ebook.

How do I read an ebrary ebook?

You may read an ebrary ebook online or download the ebook to read it offline

Once the book is open, click Read Online. Note that when you first open the ebook, you'll see how pages you're able to copy and print, and if the book is available for download. ebrary online reader

Refer to the Online Reader & Navigation Tips to do the following:

  1. Download an entire ebook to a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phones
  2. Download a chapter, a page range, or individual page in PDF format
  3. Copy pages and text
  4. Add books to your bookshelf
  5. Copy a link to the current page to share with authorized users
  6. Print to PDF
  7. Highlight text
  8. Create notes
  9. Bookmark pages

How long can I read an ebrary ebook online?

There is no time limit on your use of an ebrary ebook online.

Can more than one person use an ebrary book at a time?

Most ebrary ebooks can be viewed by any number of people at a time.

How can I download an ebrary ebooks to my computer to read offline?

The first time you download a book, the system will guide you through three simple steps. At each of the 3 steps the guided flow reminds you what you have done and what the remaining steps are. For subsequent uses from the same device, only one step is needed.

  1. To download an ebook, click Full Download.

 ebrary offline

2. Sign in to your personal ebrary account. If you don't have an account, you will need to create one.

You will be asked what kind of device you are using.


If you select “my own computer“:
  • You will be shown a link to create an Adobe ID in case you want to use the downloaded book on multiple devices.
  • In the final step, the downloaded file will be opened in Adobe Digital Editions.

If you select “public computer“:
  • You must have Adobe Digital Editions installed
  • In the final step, you will be asked whether you want to open the “.acsm” file in Adobe Digital Editions, or save it. If you save the “.acsm” file without opening it, you can copy/send it to a different computer and open it there.


How can I download a chapter of an ebook?

Open the ebook online and click Chapter Download in the toolbar menu to save a chapter of an ebrary book as a PDF file. If the chapter is longer than the number of pages you can print, it will not print-to-PDF the chapter. You’ll need to instead print-to-PDF a page range within your limit. Once you’ve created the PDF file, you can read or print that file anytime – it doesn’t expire.

How long can I keep a downloaded ebook?

An ebrary document downloaded as an ebook or PDF in Adobe Digital Editions is only available to you on a temporary basis. Most downloaded ebrary ebooks in Adobe Digital Editions or on your portable device are available for 14 days. Ebooks that can only be used by one user at a time (single user license), are available for 7 days.  

Note:  creating an image PDF of a chapter or page range gives permanent access.

How do I return an ebook?

You don’t need to return an ebrary downloaded ebook. After the designated access time, the file will remain on your computer or device, but it will become unreadable.  Once it times out, you might want to delete the (unreadable) file to avoid confusion.

You don’t need to return downloaded books, but since you can only have ten downloaded ebrary books at a time, you might want to return one early so you can download another. And returning the download of a limited-user book will make it available to others. 

To return an ebook early: 

  1. Open Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire
  2. Select “Return Borrowed Item“

Note, returns may take up to an hour to be recognized on your ebrary site.

How many downloaded ebooks can I have out at once?

You can have up to 10 ebrary ebooks downloaded at a time.

How can I read ebooks offline on my mobile device?

If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can download and read ebrary titles using the Bluefire Reader app (freely available for iOS devices in the App Store and for Android devices in Google Play). You will need an Adobe account, which is created when you install Adobe Digital Editions, or you can create a new account on the Adobe website.

To download an ebrary title to your mobile device, find the ebook you wish to download and click the Full Download tab. 
You will be guided through the streamlined 3 step download flow for mobile. Normal loan limits apply (see above).

Why am I not allowed to download a specific ebook?

If a book cannot be downloaded, it might be that: 
  • the publisher doesn’t allow full downloads
  • it’s a limited-user book and no more downloads are allowed for the book 
  • you have10 books downloaded, which is the maximum number of books you can have out 

Can I copy text from an ebrary ebook?

You can copy selections of a book you've checked out or downloaded, and paste it into a text editor, such as Microsoft Word. 

There are two options to copy online. To copy a page, select the copy icon in the navigation toolbar. To copy text within a page, select your text. A pop-up menu appears and you select the copy icon on the far left.

You may copy offline by selecting the text. 

The copy and print limits on most ebrary books are based on the percentage of the number of pages in the book. These limits are given on the detailed page for the book.

ebrary copy

Please note you are still required to adhere to Fair Use and Copyright laws. Under Fair Use, you may copy a small part of the copyrighted book, not the entire work. 

Can I print pages from an ebrary ebook?

There is a limit to how much can be printed or copied. The number of pages you can print is set by the ebook’s publisher, and not by the library. The maximum number of pages you are allowed to print is displayed in the book detailed display.

You can print pages online using the Print button, found in the toolbar menu. Each printed page includes a bibliographic citation, and you have the option of printing a single page, a range of pages, or the entire chapter. 

Can I take notes and highlight in ebrary books?

You can add permanent and private notes to the ebook you're reading, including color-coded notes and highlights. To do this, you must create an ebrary account and be signed in.


  • To add a note, select the text using drag and drop, right click on the selected text and choose Add Note in the toolbar menu. Enter your note in the box that appears and save it.
  • To highlight text, select the text using drag and drop, then click the Highlight icon.


Any notes and highlighting you create will be listed in your Bookshelf.

Notes are listed in “Annotations” side-panel when viewing a book.

To export your annotations:
1. Go to ebrary and login to your ebrary account
2. Click the Bookshelf link
3. Click the “Add folder” button to create a new folder, or use an existing folder
4. Drag the book from your bookshelf onto the folder. (Click on the book’s cover and drag to the folder’s title.)
5. Open the folder
6. Click the email this folder button (button is to the right, above list of books)
7. Enter your email address to email the folder to yourself
8. The body of the email you receive will have the complete export of your annotations. 

How can I link to ebrary ebooks from Canvas

We encourage you to paste links to ebrary books in Canvas instead of sections of actual content. With links there is no concern about authorized access.   

To link to the whole book:

  • If you have opened an ebrary ebook, the URL you see at the top is the persistent URL to that ebook. 
  • Alternatively, click Share Link to Book on the book's Detailed Page to get the persistent URL

To link to chapters and pages:

  1. Open the ebook online and navigate to the chapter or page.
  2. Click the link icon in the upper right. This will link to the particular page (but it might still be a good sea to specify page number adages to your students). You now have the persistent URL for this chapter or page and can place it in Canvas. 

Can I export ebrary citations to RefWorks?

Export the citation of an individual ebrary ebook to RefWorks by selecting Get Citation from the toolbar menu. Under Export Citation, select RefWorks/Flow. 

To export a set of ebooks, put your books into a folder in your 'bookshelf.' Open the folder. Click on the RefWorks button above the list of titles.


Where can I get more help with using ebrary?

Search the ebrary support database or contact a librarian at Ask a Librarian